Free Vintage Illustrations of Ice Cream Treats from a 1922 Trade Journal

Who wants ice cream for breakfast? I do! I found an old vintage Ice Cream trade journal from 1922, and it was packed with awesome antique advertisements for commercial Ice Cream Makers, advertising services for Ice Cream distributors, and various Ice Cream brands, flavors, sundaes, and cones. There were like 3 Neapolitan bar ads! Needless to say, I ran away with a fun, colorful collection of free vintage illustrations to share. I know it’s chilly in December, but I can never turn by back on ice cream. Ever. These vintage ice cream illustrations and advertisements can also be used to make unique ornaments for a cool ice cream themed Christmas tree, t-shirt designs, DIY bag designs, digital flyers, Etsy gifts, and more creative projects.

Vintage illustrations come with a story. Curious about the vintage ice cream industry and other facts about your favorite dessert? Learn more interesting facts and history below!

Ice Cream History and Facts

  • Catherine Medici, of Italy’s famous Medici’s of the Renaissance, is often credited with introducing ice cream to French culture when she married Henri II. Though the claim is not documented.
  • American Ice Cream origins are often credited to Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson for allegedly bringing Ice Cream from France to the U.S., and even former first lady, Dolly Madison.
  • The ancient Romans mixed crushed ice with berries
  • Many scholars believe that ice cream was most likely invented in China. There are even accounts of frozen milk as early as the 7th century! There are also additional written accounts of ice cream being served at a royal court function in the 14th century.
  • Word about ice cream might have spread through China, to the Middle East, and eventually to Italy. However, many scholars believe that the practice of freezing food itself was more likely spread from china than ice cream itself.
  • The earliest written accounts of ice cream in English culture comes from a 1671 account of a banquet with King Charles II.
  • English cuisine officially introduced ice cream and ice cream recipes around 1718
  • Ice cream hit the United States in the early 1700s, with accounts of ice cream being made and served amongst the colonies.
  • Early ice cream makers in the early 18th century were referred to as a cream machine for ice.




Free Vintage Illustrations of Classic Victorian Santa Claus

The Victorian era sure knew how to celebrate Christmas. Many of the antique Christmas illustrations I curate and collect come from this particular time period. The late 1880s also popularized the activity of sending festive Christmas cards to loved ones and soon there were more unique Christmas illustrations and designs popping up from Europe to the U.S.  This gallery is curated from my own physical collection of copyright-free antique illustrations and postcards. You may use these illustrations in your personal and commercial work without permission or attribution. However a link back to this site is required if you share these images on social media, blogs, or websites in their original form that you see below.

To make easy-breezy Christmas decor, you can use these free vintage Santa Claus illustrations to make paper doll style garland for the tree, use as decoupage material for vintage Christmas crafts, or create classic Christmas ornaments. Learn more interest tidbits about vintage Santa Claus below!

Fun Facts about Vintage Santa Claus!

  • The American image and story of Santa Claus is most closely related to the Dutch version of Santa, Sinterklaas or Sint Nikolass.
  • An 1892 Christmas poem titled “A Visit from St. Nicolas” helped cement the image and story of today’s modern-day Santa Claus
  • The idea of Santa Claus comes from Pagan, old Christian and Catholic, Scandinavian, Dutch, German, and old English stories
  • The first reference to Santa Claus, or Saint Nicolas can be traced to 280 Turkey
  • Revered for his generosity and kindness, legends formed about a man who gave away all his wealth and roamed the countryside helping impoverished communities.
  • In legend, he became known as a “protector of children”. One legend even tells of a time when St. Nicolas saved two sisters from being sold into slavery
  • By the Renaissance era, Saint Nicolas was the most popular and celebrated saint in Europe, with a huge feast day dedicated in his honor on December 6th
  • Santa Claus, or Saint Nicolas, finally entered American popular culture in the late 1700s when Dutch immigrants’ celebrations for Saint Nicolas began to be documented
  • Around the early 1800s, Santa Claus woodcuts were being made and distributed by the New York Historical Society
  • By the 1840s, Newspapers devoted full sections to Christmas shopping with Santa Claus marketing



Free Antique Christmas Graphics and Typography from 1943

I came across an awesome vintage find while searching for Christmas-themed illustrations. I was hoping to stumble upon some antique commercial Christmas graphics at some point and found these great vintage graphics and fonts from a Ludlow catalog. This catalog was originally distributed to publishers and printers and featured stylized garland, trees, retail templates, typography, and more designs. These retro Christmas graphics are in the public domain and can be used in your own personal and commercial projects! Thes vintage Christmas graphics and typography are ideal for Etsy sellers and gifts, small businesses, holiday craft material, and even digital marketing materials like Christmas emails, Pinterest pins, and digital event flyers.

Free Vintage Color Illustrations of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Did you know that the original title of ‘Snow White’ was ‘Snow Drop?’ I learned some fun facts about one of my favorite fairytales while searching for antique examples of the book. This particular gallery features color illustrations from a 1913 version of the story. These copyright-free images are in the public domain and can be used for making greeting cards, homemade books, posters, mug designs, and many more creative projects. The seven dwarves illustration are particularly versatile and would make great crafting material for general holiday and fantasy-themed art projects as well.


Fun Facts about Snow White!

  • A German fairy tale written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, otherwise known as the Brothers Grimm
  • The original title of Snow White was Sneewittchen or “Snowdrop”
  • The first edition of Snow White was published in 1812 and the final revision for the book was released in 1854
  • Snow White was turned into a Broadway play in 1912. The Broadway version of the story was the first to give the seven dwarves their own names.
  • The Disney version changed the names of the seven dwarves and eventually coined the names we know and love today
  • There are a few theories about the inspiration for Snow White. A German historian in 1994 theorized that Snow White may have been inspired by real-life German Countess, Margarete von Waldeck. Some accounts claim that Margarete’s stepmother forced her to move away to Brussels where she fell for man who would go on to become Spain’s Phillip II. However, both Margarete’s stepmother and father disapproved of the match, and Margarete supposedly died from being poisoned shortly thereafter.
  • Snow White could possibly be based on a girl named Maria Sophia von Erthal. Maria’s father was a wealthy landowner and widow who eventually married a new woman, Claudia Elisabeth von Venningen. According to 18th-century accounts, Claudia notoriously disliked her own stepchildren and had a special mirror that spoke. That legendary mirror now lives in a museum and was actually a special acoustical-mechanical toy.


Free Vintage Scientific Illustrations from 1883 Antique Science Journal

Every year, I see more and more homemade gifts and Christmas decor made from vintage scientific illustrations. Antique sketches of microscopes, fossils, canyons, and minerals are great for a wide range of gifts, like greeting cards, ornaments, fine art collages, wall art, book covers, printed fabric, and homemade books. I went to one of my favorite public domain archives to search for more amazing vintage scientific illustrations to share. I came across a science journal from 1883 (American Association for the Advancement of Science) and it was jam-packed with intriguing engineering sketches of the time and beautiful nature drawings. I was particularly drawn the hot air balloon illustrations and trilobites! These 19th century illustrations give us a unique look into the ideas and inventions of the time. These prints are exciting because they were published less than 20 years before the start of the great industrial revolution.

Craft Ideas for Scientific Illustrations

Vintage scientific illustrations can be used in a variety of creative ways, making them an ideal crafting material for birthdays, holidays, and interior decorating. Furthermore, they’re appropriate for a wide range of ages and interests. Perfect for med school birthdays, science geek gifts, and Etsy products, these public domain science illustrations go a long way. To stay inspired, copy and share this list of craft ideas to start making cool geek inspired gifts today!

  • Create your own science-themed printed playing cards
  • Make cool greeting cards for Halloween
  • Make a popular science-themed t shirts
  • Science themed birthday cards
  • Disposable paper placemats
  • DIY Journal Covers
  • Digital Collages
  • Printed Couch Pillows
  • Earrings and resin pendants
  • Glass paperweights
  • Geeky Christmas tree ornaments

King Winter: Free Public Domain Christmas Book and Illustrations from 1859!

It’s the holiday season! And Free Vintage wishes you a warm and creative winter. Thanksgiving morning, while watching the Macy’s Day Parade, I got super excited about antique Christmas books. My archive nerd levels went off the charts. So to get the ball rolling on this season’s winter and Christmas-themed posts, I stumbled upon this great vintage find from 1859! I was searching around for more winter/snow themed books and illustrations and found this gem from the Library of Congress. It was originally published by Gustav W. Seitz in Hamberg. This very old version of Santa Claus tells the story of King Winter and his trusted assistant, Jack Frost. King Winter, the queen, and Jack Frost work together to first bring fresh and fluffy snow to the countryside before King Winter delivers presents to well-behaved children. I love these frosty vintage illustrations and this classic Christmas story. Since these illustrations are copyright-free and in the public domain, you can print them out and incorporate them into your holiday crafts, classroom, Children’s books, and Esty products!

Creative Crafting Ideas for Antique Book Illustrations

This classic story about Santa Claus and Jack frost can be easily reprinted and turned into festive homemade books at home. Simply print out this book on high-quality paper and put your excellent crafting skills to work! These illustrations make wonderful graphics on their own as well. You can dress up your homemade book by cutting and pasting even more book illustrations to create a dazzling collage for your book cover. The shape of these pages are also ideal for making Christmas themed bookmarks and decor for the classroom!

Need even more ideas? The creative possibilities are endless with antique Christmas books in the public domain. Copy and share the following list to inspire your next holiday craft project.

  • Make a Christmas paper cut-out banner or garland for the tree
  • Laminate antique book pages to make bookmarks and classic placemats
  • Create a large storyboard project with poster board
  • Decoupage on a plain wooden chest to create festive furniture and accents
  • Print and frame for easy Christmas themed wall art